Q&A: Banu Defender
April 27th 2017
Q&A: Banu Defender
Since the introduction of the Hull Series back in April 2015, every new concept ship reveal has had an accompanying Q&A post, where we spend a couple days collecting questions from you, pass those on to the relevant ship designer, and provide you the best answers we have available at that time.
With the recent addition of Spectrum, we can now allow you to add your vote to the questions you most want to see answered. The questions included below are a combination of those that received the most votes, and those we felt we could confidently answer at this early stage in the Banu Defender’s life.
Now that the ship is concept complete, it will enter our development pipeline where many of the answers you see below will be fleshed out, and those missing will be determined and implemented. While it will still be some time before we see the Banu Defender in game, we hope you’re as excited as we are as the Star Citizen pantheon of ships expands with the exotic addition of this alien spacecraft.
As always, a special thanks to Jonny Jacevicius, John Crewe and Todd Papy for their help in answering your questions.
Let’s get to it. -DL
Short Answer: Yes.
Longer Answer: As we discussed on the Subscriber’s Town Hall (helpfully included down below) we’ve been looking at several solutions for the visibility issue since before the sale was announced, as indicated in this month’s Jump Point. While we’re exploring several options, none of them should majorly impact the overall look or aesthetic of the ship, but we anticipate will greatly improve pilot and co-pilot visibility.
The mechanisms on the prongs offer a lot of movement flexibility, so this is certainly one of the likely avenues for improvements to the visibility we’re exploring, possibly by angling them down/outwards more.
The Banu developed the Defender to provide protection and fly alongside the Merchantman, so its design includes a much improved range over other fighters of similar size due to its fuel intakes, dual fuel tanks, and large quantum drive, as noted in the brochure.
We intend it to have an edge in mobility for a fighter of its size, due to a light hull construction and its use of Xi’An engine tech. As often happens in game design, all this mobility and range must come at a price, for this case in armor protection, so you’ll need to use that agility to your advantage.
The size indicated in the stat block is for the hardpoint as a whole, so it doesn’t include the size reduction. Therefore, these S3 hardpoints are fully utilized, fitted with gimbals capable of mounting S2 weapons.
Yes, the current plan for the Defender’s gun hardpoints is that you can choose to mount either a S3 fixed weapon or a S2 gimbaled weapon. We expect this sort of loadout to be favored by solo pilots or used in a crew arrangement where the co-pilot is completely focused on other tasks, like shield or power management, as a fixed weapon loadout for this ship would make life harder for a co-gunner who doesn’t have independent control of where they’re pointing.
While not every fighter-sized ship comes with a jump drive, since escorting Merchantmen on their journeys is part of the Defender’s job description, it’s natural for them to have one as standard equipment.
We’re considering options for this but haven’t decided one way or another whether the Defender will be able to be carried internally in the Merchantman at this time.
The Defender introduces a brand-new weapon to our in-game armory, the tachyon cannon!
It is an energy weapon that fires its projectiles at an extremely high velocity, making it both very long-ranged and accurate relative to its peers, while we are still working out what its other performance characteristics and balancing characteristics will be. As some of you may have noticed from our newsletter sneak peek several weeks ago, the tachyon gun deviates from other Banu engineering choices, and UEE historians suspect that the Banu assimilated this weapon technology from some other culture.
The Defender has an edge in maneuverability over human mainstays like the Super Hornet and Sabre, which themselves have edges in durability and armament, respectively. Defenders excel in distracting and confounding would-be attackers, giving their charges (like the Merchantman) the chance to slip away to safety. Their speed and mobility make them good for holding the point position, intercepting threats, and reacting quickly to flanking maneuvers. These traits make the Defender an excellent… well, defender. They present attackers with a dilemma; expend precious time and fuel trying to pin down an agile escort, or try to weather their fire while focusing on the Merchantmen? Since raiders often favor fast, heavily armed, but lightly armored ships, the choice can be a difficult one.
The Defender’s robust shielding combined with its agility make it an enduring adversary when piloted well, but in a straight up brawl, the Sabre and Super Hornet might have the edge. Both of these fighters are designed with a heavy focus on attack, and particularly when the attackers are less concerned with another objective, they’ll present a hearty challenge to Defenders and their crews. Between the three, we’d bet on the skilled pilot that knows how to utilize their ship best more than just the ship.
Yes – the Defender is completely functional with a crew of one. There is no reason you must have a second crewman for a Defender any more than you would for the currently flyable Super Hornet, with the pilot tasked in managing all ship functions. The main edge granted by a second pilot in the Defender would be having someone to manage ship systems optimally during combat, whether handling the weapons and/or shields while the pilot focuses on maneuvering, or jumping into the back and conducting repairs or damage control on the fly to keep this long-ranged fighter in play over a long haul.
The Banu prefer to fly their Defenders with two-person crews, but as a player, the choice is in your hands. Because the Defender relies more on its shields than it does on its armor, it can pay handsome dividends to have a crew member dedicated to getting the best performance out of them.
No – the Banu predilection for specialization leaves the cargo hauling to the Merchantman, which has more than enough space to go around. =) Once we’ve blocked out the Defender’s needs for internal space and equipment, it’s possible we might have some space on the ship for storing personal items, but that’s not the same as setting aside dedicated space for more serious haulage, like cargo pallets or crates.
The Khartu-Al emphasizes mobility in general; it’s hard for most ships in its size category to compete with, especially the lightly-armed Scout variant. In terms of straight SCM or AFB speed, the Defender will edge out the Sabre. With the Buccaneer, the Defender should outperform slightly in terms of general maneuvering, but have to contend less favorably with the Buccaneer’s strong retro-thrusters and better strafing ability.
Yes – internal access to components should provide an advantage when it comes to maintenance and repair, especially while on the move or in space. With other fighters, particularly single-seat fighters with no walk-able interior to speak of, or whose component access is strictly by way of external access panels, a crew member would have to exit the ship in order to perform most repairs on damaged components. In space, this means EVA, and it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to manage these things in pitched battle, or while speeding along towards a destination! For a Merchantman on the move, having to stop to make repairs isn’t ideal; an escort that can keep pace is worth its weight in… well, anything you’ve got in the cargo hold, potentially.
Another point discussed in the Town Hall this week! (See below if you haven’t already…) The Tevarin were masters of shield technology, especially for their time. Their Phalanx and air shields are far more capable and sophisticated than the shields fielded by the UPE during the Tevarin War. The Defender’s shield generators, while not Phalanx in design, are still of Tevarin origin, considered large for a ship of the Defender’s size, and are backed up by an impressive dual power plant system which feeds the necessary juice to keep those exotic shields going while powering the Xi’An propulsion system as well.
For a fighter in its size class: very good indeed.
While the Defender should never quite be able to match the long-range endurance of a Merchantman, as it’s size gives it ample room for a powerful, efficient jump drive and lots of fuel, a Merchantman that wants to keep its escorts around for the entire trip might need to stop more often for resupply and make fewer jumps at a time than it might be able to do on its own. Even so, if you want to make a long, multi-system journey, the Defender should have the the best range of same-size fighters, and be your best option for longer hauls.
It does! The Banu are highly skilled in their roles and therefore put a lot of value on the safety of their crew. Both cockpits will have ejection capability, with the compartmentalized ejection systems allowing each crewmember to eject independently.
The engines, shield generator and all weaponry can all be swapped out as usual. The component interchangeability will be normal.
It’s sleek enough to not suffer too much from drag, but the maneuverability might take a slight hit compared to what it can do in Zero-G. The ideal is that it is able to accompany the Merchantman from ground to space and space to ground without having any problems to remain an effective escort.
The Defender is quick and agile and able to maneuver its way into position where it’s out of harms way but still able to fire, so the tachyon cannons are a good fit. Of course, as always, should these weapons not suit your style of play you can swap them out for something you might find more in tune with your own preferences.
It has an S2 shield generator and 2x S1 power plants.
As noted previously in the Monthly Reports, Around the Verse and most recently this week’s Town Hall, we are still in progress on a major revision to the presentation of ship stats on our website, due to the changes inherent in the continuing development of Item System 2.0. As such, they don’t translate too well to the current display. The information given in this answer tracks properly with what is shown in the Defender brochure here.
We intend for the full range of sizings to be available in time, but dependent on resources only the S2 may be available from the start.
In the Banu Protectorate, tradesmen are known for hauling precious cargo across long distances in their Merchantman ships. While the Merchantman boasts a cavernous cargo area, it lacks the offensive capabilities to ward off large numbers of attackers.
Meet the Banu Defender, a multi-crew fighter whose patchwork design features both Xi’an thrusters, Tevarin shields, and four Singe tachyon cannons. Though cargo space is limited, the Defender features modest accommodations for its crew and provides easy access to components. The Defender gets its name from the role it serves: the first line of defense against enemy attacks.
That’s why the Defender makes the ideal companion to the Merchantman: one to do the heavy hauling and the other to perform the deadly dogfighting. Every Banu merchant knows an investment in defense is an investment in their livelihood.
Now, you can purchase both ships as part of the Banu Pack! This exclusive 2-ship pack is available for a limited time. The Defender and Merchantman can also be bought individually in two models: Standard and War Bond. This special sale ends on May 1, 2017.
The Defender is being offered for the first time as a limited concept sale. This means that the ship design meets our specifications, but it is not yet ready to display in your Hangar, fight in Arena Commander or fly in the Alpha. All revenue collected from Concept Sales goes directly to supporting the development of Star Citizen; to building a game with a scale and depth that’s never been accomplished in games before. Your contributions directly finance the hundreds of developers striving to create the Best Damn Space Sim ever and the team engaging with the Best Damn Community Ever. Concept Sale profits don’t go to shareholders or personal pockets; they go directly into developing a better game. Star Citizen wouldn’t exist without the continued support of our backers.
The sale includes Lifetime Insurance on the ship hull and a pair of decorative items for your Hangar. A future patch will add a Defender poster and then once the in-game model is finished you will also be given an in-game Defender mini ship model! In the future, the ship price will increase and the offer will not include Lifetime Insurance or these extras.
Remember: we are offering this pledge ship to help fund Star Citizen’s development. The funding generated by sales such as this is what allows us to include deeper, non-combat oriented features in the Star Citizen world. Concept ships will be available for in-game credits in the final universe, and they are not required to start the game.
Additionally, please note that the Defender will be entering the ship pipeline now, it will ultimately be released after other concept ships have been completed. All decorative ‘flare’ items will also be available to acquire in the finished game world. The goal is to make additional ships available that give players a different experience rather than a particular advantage when the persistent universe launches.